A popular young socialist leader and an outspoken face of the Samajwadi Party, Dharmendra Yadav is roaring at #KisanBachaoMahapanchayat in league with another bright young lad of peasant politics, RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary at various congregations of angry farmers in western Uttar Pradesh.
Will their united spirit of solidarity and resistance usher grief-stricken farmers in a new age? Will the BJP government be incinerated in the inflammatory anger of the farmers?
Within a fortnight of passing three new bills, farmers began to burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi across the country. Socialist workers in Uttar Pradesh have burned effigy of Chief Minister Adityanath in the light of #Hathras_Horror and continued repression of farmers and unemployed youths.
Farmers in several Indian states are protesting against three new bills the government says will open up the tightly-controlled agriculture sector to free-market forces.
In the hugely successful farmers rallies at Muzaffarnagar and Mathura, Dharmendra and Jayant argued that the Modi government has left farmers at the mercy of big corporations.
They have been unambiguously striking a chord when they called the bills “black law” and “pro-corporate”. To further hurt the self-respect of Jatland farmers, Yogi Adityanath’s led BJP administration carried out a brutal lathicharge on Jayant Chaudhary while he was speaking to the press in Hathras over horrible gangrape and subsequent killing of a Dalit Balmiki girl.
In Farmers congregation, Dharmendra Yadav has raised this issue of assault on the self-esteem of Jat community.
Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav, national president and former UP Chief Minister had accused Modi of “making farmers ‘slaves’ of the capitalists.’
For decades, the Indian farmer was protected by various laws. This bills passed by Parliament put peasant in chains of the greedy profiteers.
Under the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act passed in 1964, it was compulsory for farmers to sell their produce at government-regulated markets, or mandis, where middlemen helped growers sell harvests to either the state-run company or private players. Furthermore, the BJP government can scrap the Minimum Support Price at the opportune moment in future.
Afraid of the farmers protest and its electoral consequences in upcoming Bihar Assembly elections and UP Assembly by-poll, the BJP government began the damage control through its puppet media outlets lobbying hard on the flimsy ground like the monopoly of APMC mandis will end but they will not be shut down, and that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) – the price at which the government buys farm produce – will not be scrapped.
But farmers, particularly in the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with Western Uttar Pradesh have protested against the BJP government under the banner of principal opposition party, Samajwadi Party and RLD-dominated Jat pockets, where legacy of towering peasant leader and former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh still ring in the same frequency.
The new law is a clear betrayal of the socialist principles of the Constitution. In fact, the State governments, which earn an income through transactions at mandis, stand to lose out on tax revenues as trade moves out of state or into the domain of private dealers.
Mandis are the main centres of farm trade.
In Uttar Pradesh, former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had taken special interest in developing Mandis in district after district. His ambitious Lucknow-Agra Expressway was designed to create centres of farm trade alongside the largest highway.
For decades, farmers found themselves driven deeper into debt by crop failures and the inability to secure competitive prices for their produce. Finding themselves unable to cope, many have resorted to taking their own lives.
The agriculture sector contributes nearly 15 percent of India’s $2.9 trillion economy but employs about half of the country’s population.